Michael Johnson did not look like a man on a two-fight losing streak.
“The Menace” blew away American Top Team’s Dustin Poirier with first-round punches in the UFC Fight Night “Poirier vs. Johnson” headliner (online betting) on Saturday at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas. Poirier (20-5, 12-4 UFC) succumbed to blows 95 seconds into round one, his run of four consecutive victories a thing of the past.
Johnson (17-10, 9-6 UFC) hid behind his defenses and leveled Poirier with a blinding right hook-straight left combination. The 27-year-old Louisiana native hit the deck, where he was met with a savage ground-and-pound assault that left referee Dan Miragliotta no choice but to swoop in and call for the stoppage. The loss was Poirier’s first at 155 pounds in more than six years and slowed his rise on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight ladder.
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Brunson Sinks Hall, Wins Fifth Straight
Derek Brunson cut down “The Ultimate Fighter 17” finalist Uriah Hall with punches in the first round of their middleweight co-main event. Brunson (16-3, 7-1 UFC) brought it to a close 1:41 into round one, his winning streak now at five. The 32-year-old Jackson-Wink MMA standout has made himself a serious player at 185 pounds.
The two middleweights spent a majority of their brief clash in the clinch. Once they separated, Brunson pushed forward and detonated a left hook on the two-time Ring of Combat champion’s chin. Hall (12-7, 5-5 UFC) collapsed where he stood and appeared to be coherent and defending himself from Brunson’s follow-up attack when referee Herb Dean made the decision to intervene.
Resurgent Dunham Downs Glenn
Evan Dunham spoiled the organizational debut of former World Series of Fighting champion Rick Glenn, as he pocketed a unanimous decision in their featured lightweight matchup. Dunham (18-6, 11-6 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks from the judges.
A short-notice fill-in for the injured Abel Trujillo, Glenn (18-4-1, 0-1 UFC) made the Eugene, Oregon, native earn it. Dunham was in his face from the outset and overwhelmed the underdog with high-output punching, intermittent kicks, clinches, takedowns, ground-and-pound and an active submission game. Ahead two rounds to none, he did anything but coast over the final five minutes. Dunham engaged Glenn on the feet, throwing everything in his arsenal in pursuit of the finish. Glenn waived him forward despite the onset of fatigue and the considerable damage he had absorbed. The 15-minute battle ended with Dunham fishing for an armbar after a failed somersault kick from the newcomer in the center of the cage.
The 34-year-old Dunham has won four fights in a row.
‘Jucao’ Carneiro Edges Robertson
American Top Team’s Roan Carneiro laughed last in a featured welterweight in which both men seemed to be riding their brakes, as he was awarded a split decision over Kenny Robertson. Two of the judges sided with Carneiro by 30-27 and 29-28 counts while a third cast a 29-28 nod of approval in Robertson’s direction.
Neither of them did much to create separation. Robertson (15-5, 4-5 UFC) pressured the Brazilian with punches and marched forward with little regard for his standup skills. Carneiro (21-10, 4-4 UFC) swept into mount late in the second round and wobbled the East Peoria, Illinois, native with a right uppercut-left hook combination in the third. The crowd grew restless with the lack of meaningful activity and made its displeasure known throughout the 15-minute encounter.
Carneiro, 38, has quietly rattled off seven wins over his past eight outings.
Makhachev Outduels Wade
Islam Makhachev rebounded from his first professional defeat -- a knockout loss to Adriano Martins in October -- to claim a unanimous decision over onetime Ring of Combat titleholder Chris Wade in their entertaining and highly competitive three-round lightweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Makhachev (13-1, 2-1 UFC).
The grappling exchanges between the two were something to behold. Makhachev threatened with a triangle choke in the first round and Wade (11-3, 4-2 UFC) answered with an attempted guillotine in the second. They covered the rest of the time scrambling and sweeping, though Makhachev slowly seized control of the match. Wade briefly mounted in round three, but Makhachev did his best work there. He, too, advanced to mount before transitioning to the back and securing position with a body triangle. Wade could not shake him and spent the waning moments defending against chokes and punches from the rear.
Skelly Throttles Blanco in 19 Seconds
Chas Skelly took out former Pancrase champion Maximo Blanco with a brabo choke in the first round of their featured attraction at 145 pounds. Blanco (12-8-1, 4-5 UFC) lost consciousness 19 seconds into round one, as he became the victim of the fastest submission in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight division.
Skelly charged at the Venezuelan at the start and put him on the mat with a flying front kick to the chest. In his haste to return to an upright position, Blanco left his next exposed. Skelly bit down on a guillotine before transitioning to the brabo choke, and in a matter of seconds, Blanco was out cold.
The 31-year-old Skelly has registered five wins across his past six outings.
Benitez Guillotine Sleeps Sicilia
The American Kickboxing Academy’s Gabriel Benitez choked Sam Sicilia unconscious with a second-round guillotine in a preliminary lightweight pairing. The lights went out on Sicilia (15-7, 5-6 UFC) 1:20 into round two.
Benitez (19-5, 3-1 UFC) turned the inside of “The Ultimate Fighter 15” graduate’s leg grotesque shades of red and purple with a series of damaging kicks in the first round. With his base compromised, Sicilia became more and more of a sitting duck. Early in the second round, Benitez dropped him to his knees with a ringing straight left. Sicilia returned to his feet, shot for a poorly conceived takedown and wandered into a standing guillotine. Benitez squeezed the spit and the life right out of the Sikjitsu rep.
The 28-year-old Benitez has won five of his last six bouts.
Muhammad Batters ‘Dodger’ Montano
Former Titan Fighting Championships titleholder Belal Muhammad disposed of Augusto Montano with third-round punches in their undercard tilt at 170 pounds. Montano (15-3, 1-2 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:19 into round three.
Muhammad (10-1, 1-1 UFC) cut angles, utilized crafty footwork and mixed two- and three-punch combinations with kicks to the body, arms and head. He secured takedowns in the second and rounds and imposed his will on the fading Montano. Late in round three, Muhammad struck for another takedown, quickly moved to the back and bombarded the Bonebreakers Team export with unanswered lefts and rights until referee Herb Dean had seen enough.
Carlos Jr. Choke Submits Guimaraes
“The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3” winner Antonio Carlos Jr. submitted Leonardo Guimaraes with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their preliminary middleweight confrontation. Guimaraes (11-3, 0-2 UFC) tapped 4:46 into round three.
Carlos Jr. (6-2, 3-2 UFC) spent roughly 14 minutes softening the MMA Masters representative with takedowns, ground-and-pound and suffocating positional control. In the third round, he extricated himself from a guillotine choke, executed a pair of takedowns and advanced to Guimaraes’ back, lacing his legs into a body triangle. From there, Carlos Jr. bowed his hips, stretched out his fellow Brazilian and forced him to expose his neck to the fight-ending choke.
Returning Quinonez Denies Gomez
Jose Alberto Quinonez returned to the cage for the first time in more than a year and did not disappoint, as he captured a unanimous decision over Joey Gomez in a three-round undercard clash at 135 pounds. Quinonez (5-2, 2-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 marks from the judges.
Gomez (6-2, 0-2 UFC) staggered the Alliance MMA standout with a right uppercut and later floored him with a crisp straight left in the second round but was otherwise on his heels. Quinonez tore into his body with repeated kicks and knocked him down in rounds one in three. He dropped Gomez with a crushing knee strike to the face in the third round, climbed to full mount and uncorked some ground-and-pound before moving towards the back. The opportunity to finish did not present itself, but the damage was done. Gomez was a faded force down the stretch, as Quinonez’s focus on the body paid dividends.
Brown Guillotine Vanquishes Montano
Former Ring of Combat champion Randy Brown submitted Erick Montano with a guillotine choke in the third round of their preliminary welterweight encounter. Montano (7-4, 1-1 UFC) conceded defeat 18 seconds into round three, his three-fight winning streak at an end.
Brown (8-1, 2-1 UFC) seemed content to toy with the Bonebreakers Team export in the clinch throughout an uneventful first round. However, Montano turned the tables in the second, where he delivered a takedown, advanced to side control on two occasions and corralled the Jamaican-born New Yorker on the canvas. A Brown front kick had the Mexico City native diving on another takedown at the start of round three, this one ill-advised. Montano wandered into a figure-four guillotine, as Brown locked his long arms into place, grapevined the legs and coaxed the tapout.
Morales-Perez Ends in Majority Draw
Promotional newcomer Alberto Morales fought to a majority draw with “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” winner Alejandro Perez in a three-round undercard battle at 135 pounds. Two of the cageside judges rendered 28-28 scorecards, while a third saw it 29-27 for Morales.
A replacement for the injured Manny Gamburyan, Morales (6-0-1, 0-0-1 UFC) bottled up the American Kickboxing Academy representative with stinging inside and outside leg kicks, occasional counters and persistent forward movement. He also benefited from a second-round point deduction, as referee Kerry Hatley penalized Perez for throwing punches after the bell. Morales ran out of gas over the final five minutes, leaving the door open for his frustrated opponent. Perez (17-6-1, 3-1-1 UFC) executed a takedown, applied some damaging ground-and-pound and later connected with a series of right uppercuts. Unable to secure a finish, he settled for the draw.